Pregnancy is an amazing yet hard time in your life. You’re growing a new human and anticipating the moment you get to meet your new child, but your body is going through a lot of changes. Figuring out how to survive pregnancy with a toddler at home adds an extra layer of struggle on top of everything else.
Having a toddler is fun, but everyone knows that it’s a lot of work.
Going to the store requires more attention and work, and he’s bigger than a baby now. Those tantrums are totally different nowadays!
I know that, when I had a toddler while pregnant, I struggled to find motivation to do anything. Some days, we watched TV in my bed because I was so sick and exhausted. On my good days, we would hit up the park and have a fun day. It was a lot of balancing, but we all made it through.
Here are some of my best tips for surviving pregnancy with a toddler in tow.
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Related: 21 Postpartum Questions You Really Wanted Answered!
How to Survive Pregnancy with a Toddler at Home
1. Encourage Independent Play
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your toddler is to encourage independent play. Playing with your child is always great, but when you’re pregnant, you may not have the energy to do that all the time.
That’s when independent play comes in handy. Create a fun space for your toddler to play independently, and that also can include an outdoor area for sand play or a swing set.
Here are some of my favorite independent play toys.
- Play-Doh Sets
- Watercolor Paints & Paper
- Stacking Blocks
- LED Light Panel
- Tinker Toys
- Duplo Legos
2. Get Your Toddler to Help You
Toddlers love to help, and pregnancy brings a lot of changes for your family. It’s a great time to talk about their new role as a big sibling and get them excited to help.
Also, it’s important to remember that toddlers love to help you, and it’s a good time to work on chores together and meaningful tasks. Let your toddler wash the dishes – it may make a bit of a mess, but they think they’re helping and it keeps them busy.
3. Prep The Night Before
Morning times were the hardest time for me, so I began prepping at night for the rough times. I had terrible morning sickness and felt so sluggish.
I would pick out clothes for my preschooler so I could get him out the door to school in time. Prep an easy breakfast that requires little to no work on your part, and anything else that you typically need to do in the morning.
If you end up exhausted at night, try prepping even earlier. Your partner may be able to help you as well. My husband would pack my son’s lunches for school; sometimes, the smell of certain foods triggered me anyway!
4. Accept Screen Time
Screen time is a controversial topic, but it’s okay to get a bit of help from your favorite cartoon characters when your body is run down from pregnancy. It makes also for the perfect time to snuggle with your toddler on the couch.
I have no shame!
One of my tips to survive pregnancy with a toddler is to give your child a tablet or extra screen time. I noticed that pregnancy always has easier days and harder days. So, when you’re having a hard day, flip on the tablet or movie with no mom guilt.
5. Go Outside and Burn Energy
Getting outside together gives you a more vitamin D, and sometimes, the fresh air helps you feel even better than before. It does a lot for tired bodies!
Try to spend time outside every day with your toddler, and that includes the hard days when you’re struggling. Grab your cup of hot tea, sit outside in your backyard, and let your child run around with some toys.
It makes for a better nap time!
6. Offer Simple, Quiet Activities
Offering quiet activities is a great way to get your active toddler to enjoy an easy playtime while you rest. Even if you think your child is always ready to go, toddlers need some down time throughout the day.
Here are some easy and quiet activities for toddlers:
- Playing with dolls or animal figurines
- Coloring or watercolor painting
- Playing with play dough
- Reading books
- Building toys
7. Take Naps with Your Toddler
No shame in your nap game!
Most toddlers still take naps, so it’s the perfect time for you to catch a bit more sleep during the day. Pregnancy, especially the first trimester, is tiring, so you may feel like napping throughout the day.
Taking naps with your toddler is a must-do.
If you don’t want to nap every day, use this time to lounge and relax on the couch, take a warm shower, or do anything that allows you rest and relax your body.
If your toddler doesn’t nap, work on encouraging quiet time. This may be time to relax and watch a TV show, and it’s tempting to use this time to work on chores, but resting is what is most important.
Most women experience extreme tiredness in the first trimester and third trimester, so follow the needs of your body. It might not result in extra shut-eye, but taking the time to take a load off your body is essential.
8. Ask for Help When Needed
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help from your friends and family with your toddler. Your body is facing all sorts of changes during this time, and it makes you feel rundown. Keeping up with your toddler feels impossible.
Give your friends and family a call!
Also, your partner, if you have one, should be pitching in extra help as needed. Pregnancy kicks butt, and you may not be able to carry your typical load around the house.
Sometimes, you need an errand ran or someone to keep your toddler during your errands. You might just need someone to watch your toddler for two hours so you can get something else done.
Call on your tribe for the help you need!
9. It’s Ok to Relax!
Pregnancy is exhausting, so make sure you take time to relax. It’s okay to take it easy and push off some tasks you might have powered through before. Pregnancy doesn’t last forever!
That means if you really want to relax instead of doing the dishes, don’t feel bad. Just relax! Order pizza instead of cooking dinner, postpone activities as needed, and rest. This season is short, and before you know it, your new baby will be there part of the crew.
10. Make Time for Self-Care
When you’re pregnant, it’s important to make time to do things that are nice for yourself. Take time to get a massage, take a walk with some friends, or visit a coffee shop with your partner.
Self-care doesn’t always have to cost extra money, so if you’re on a tight budget, don’t feel like you have to forgo time for yourself. A picnic with friends, time at the library reading a book quietly, or talking a walk are all free or super cheap.
Related: Self Care-Are You Doing Enough?
11. Keep Yourself Well Hydrated
It might seem like no big deal, but when you’re trying to survive pregnancy with a toddler, keeping yourself hydrated is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It helps keep your energy levels high, while keeping your healthy.
It doesn’t get better than that.
Your pregnant body needs plenty of water; you need to drink more than average when pregnancy. Dehydration during pregnancy is one of the key factors that lead to exhaustion, but it also causes pregnancy complications like premature labor and neural tube defects.
12. Hit the Bed Earlier
It’s tempting to stay up late to binge on Netflix, but going to bed early is good for everyone, especially when you’re pregnant. Toddlers rarely let their parents sleep in, and it leaves you feeling even more tired than before.
But you were already exhausted!
It’s not a good combination. In my first trimester, I went to be as early as possible and slept for as long as my kids would let me. This season only lasts for a short period.
Figuring out how to survive pregnancy with a toddler at home takes a bit of trial and error. Remember, focusing on getting enough rest and relaxation is key; your body is going through a lot of changes. Don’t feel bad for extra screen time or taking time to relax throughout the day; pregnancy is only a short period!